That’s good but not good enough. You can do better than that. C’MON man! PERFECT! Are you serious? These are all statements I tend to make when I’m in the classroom evaluating my students. I tend to say what’s on my mind when I guide, learn, assess, reflect (GLAR) and start the cycle over again. I never lose sight of my weaknesses as a learner (especially when I was their age). I remember what my teachers’ weaknesses were and turn that around to be my strengths. And I ultimately try to have as much fun with the students and faculty as possible while learning. So what do you do? Do you GLAR every now and again?
I recently read surveys from the courses I taught (2012-2013) and the most recent Professional Development Session with my colleagues. This presented a golden opportunity for me to reflect and make plans for the future. I enjoy this part of my job because the surveys provide me with a direct link to each member of our community. It is an open forum for each participant to speak freely and anonymously to my teaching style, what they learned (if anything) and what I should change next time they are in one of my classes or sessions, respectively.
The benefits of this forum are endless, but what if every learner (students, teachers and administrators alike) had the same opportunity? Furthermore, do they? From the perspective of a life-long learner, I think this forum (or open line of communication) is ideal. I also believe that everyone should have opportunities like this whenever people interact, especially in education.
I digress. While I fine-tune the ways I measure a students’ success (based off of assessments, classroom-interaction and the like) I simultaneously develop rapport with most of them so that the students have no barriers to hide behind when asking questions of inquiry, questioning relevance of content, or asking to resubmit any assignment or project, etc.
From the perspective of an educator, I yearn for this type of student and colleague. If it wasn’t for reflections we couldn’t be as effective as we are. Taking it a step further, we couldn’t get better at our passion and subsequently couldn’t make the students, our colleagues, or administration better. How will you get better? Also, what role has reflection played in the process?